The Christchurch Civic Creche Case

News Reports Index

1993 Jan-May

The Press
January 28 1993

Doctor retracts view on child's sex abuse

A doctor retracted her view that a complainant in the Christchurch Civic Childcare Centre inquiry had been abused, the District Court was told yesterday.

Dr Pamela Lyttle said she had examined the complainant in September 1992, and concluded the child gave the appearance of having been penetrated by a blunt instrument.

Photographs were taken, but after they were lost by Christchurch Hospital the child was called back for re-examination.

Dr Lyttle said due to using a different method of examination, she became satisfied the irregularity detected earlier was within the range of normality.

She was giving evidence during a preliminary hearing to decide if five former creche workers -accused of sexually abusing some children in their care will be sent for trial.

Peter Hugh McGregor Ellis, aged 34, faces 45 indecency charges. Gaye Jocelyn Davidson, aged 39, Janice Virginia Buckingham, aged 44, Marie Keys, aged 44, each face four charges. Deborah Janet Gillespie, aged 30, faces three charges.

Dr Lyttle said she had also examined two other complainants in the inquiry and found no signs of sexual abuse.

However, this finding did not refute the contention the children had been abused.

Cross-examined by Mr Gerald Nation for the women defendants, Dr Lyttle said the loss of the photographs was not the only reason for requesting a re-examination of the complainant.

She had wanted to review her finding about the irregularity because it had not been accompanied by scarring, which was normally the case in abuse patients.

Healing of the area could occur without leaving any sign of the injury, she said.

To questions from Mr Robert Harrison for Ellis, Dr Lyttle said she had examined about 80 suspected sexual abuse victims since 1988 and had re-examined one or two.

The hearing, which is now in its ninth week, was adjourned until tomorrow.

Mr Chris Lange yesterday indicated the Crown did not intend to call any more evidence against the accused. Mr Nation said the women defendants would call evidence and Mr Harrison said he had yet to make a decision about whether to call evidence.

Judge Anderson granted counsels' request for a break to allow them to prepare for the next stage of the proceedings. It was a reasonable request given the amount of paperwork in the case, he said.